We are in the Exile Stream and reading from the Common English Bible.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
We know that You are compassionate to those who follow after You. We want to follow You. Help us to stay on the straight and narrow and to not be distracted by the temptations of this world. May Your compassion flow through us to reach more for Your Kingdom. Amen.
Just to pause for some review, Hosea was sent as the final prophet to the North; to Israel. They split from the south because they were tired of the taxes and of being told by the new young leaders [in the south] that taxes would only go up; way up. To secure the division, the north (Israel) had set up the the golden calf as their national symbol and had immersed themselves in Baal worship. This deliberate paganism was a 200 year run from ca. 920 BC to 720 BC. During these two centuries God sent Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Amos and finally Hosea. All tried to get the northern Kingdom to repent of its idol worship. It was as feckless of results as trying to get dogs to stop digging through garbage or to keep pigs out of mud. ?How to get these people to stop their transgressions? We read Hosea 11 and 12 today and will finish Hosea next week.
11 – begins that God called his son out of Egypt. This is a theme; a motif in the long process of redemption. Moses was called out of Egypt, the Israelites were called/delivered out of Egypt, Jesus was called out of Egypt as a toddler when the angel told Joseph/Mary to return to Israel now since Herod was gone. The phrase “Leaving Egypt” can virtually mean to depart from slavery and come into freedom. God had called Israel out of slavery and … they dove back into it around 920 B.C. and told themselves that they were doing this to symbolize their independence. It’s quite the “whirling dervish” mentality and it wasn’t taking them where they might have thought it would.
God has cared for them for so long; from the start! and all they do is run away. They are a frustration to God. And since they think it’s their right to dabble in spiritual slavery, they will return to slavery. Assyria will swarm in and when the swords flash all over over their country it won’t be some display or Memorial Day exposition. Swords will flash for their death! Horror of horrors. God really doesn’t want to see this happen to Israel, his chosen people. But what is God to do when Israel has chosen wrong? The two mentioned cities of Admah and Zeboiim were sister cities of Sodom/Gomorrah, mentioned in Gen. 10:19. They had joined in S Gs’ sin. They were burned into oblivion too in Genesis along with the other ungodly populations. Again, God doesn’t want to treat Israel this way but what choice is Israel’s behavior offering to God when they had joined in such diabolical behavior? Their satanic behavior must be addressed. Does God love them? He never stopped loving them. This is pain for the divine one who would so prefer to save them. However their life of lies cannot go on.
12 – Ephraim, in Israel (remember Absalom and his army perishing in the forests of Ephraim a few days ago?) Ephraim was a cultural center in Israel. Let’s put it this way, they put the “cult” in cultural. At any rate, Ephraim is doing deals with Egypt and Assyria (both menacing countries on either side of them) and they are thinking that they are going to triangulate a clever deal and thereby keep punishment at bay. It is as if they think that some tricky chess playing or maneuvering is going to keep them out of trouble. They were being like Jacob; Israel their forefather who was constantly conjuring something v.s. dealing with matters in a forthright manner. God had dynamically met Jacob at Bethel [Gen. 28] – now that area is “sin-central”, they are ungodly in every way. God has worked so long to establish His people in Israel but they seem to prefer to return to lostness. They will, – and blood is going to be spilt.
Don’t you wish things had gone differently? Yeah. God does too.